This post is a delayed one. However, I still want to list out the good movies that I could catch in the Bangalore Film Festival that just took place. I have watched two of these now, one in 2008 and this one, the next. Very early on one could sense that the festival directors were different for both. And indeed they were. The 2011 festival felt very focused, the films chosen had a strong socio-political feel. There was even a category called ‘political cinema’ which was absent from the earlier one. Also I missed the mish mash of films in the earlier festival. That had felt like a carnival, where there was a ride for everyone, while this time a lot of films felt preachy, hence the over-all feeling I managed to have was that I was being educated. And I don’t think I particularly liked the educator, as in this case the festival director. The last festival had managed to get movies based on many things like the concept, the visuals and had some very interesting movies on some very absurd apolitical themes that had felt like a cool drink after a strenuous walk in peak summer. Whereas this festival felt like someone had stolen into a house and watched the owner’s collection of movies back to back. Good curatorship is hard to come by, evidently.
Anyhow, some movies that I really enjoyed were Beaufort, Policeman and About Elly. The first two are Israeli films, I have watched and enjoyed Israeli films but with these two movies and one I watched later on (Nina’s Tragedies), I have turned into a big fan. Beaufort is a war drama that could be based on anyone fighting a war, anywhere. It gives a very intimate picture of life in the barracks, lovingly shot and completely focused, it was a great watch. The politics of the movie is debatable, but important to mention that the politics of war is completely out of scope of the movie, if this was based out from the Palestinian border, it would have remained the same.
Policeman is yet another of an intimate film, which meanders its way into a chilling end. Beautifully themed, and indulgently shot, it was quite nice to watch this movie.
About Elly is the first Iranian film I have seen. And I was quite predictably blown away by it. By the beautiful reality of the movie. None of the scenes feel staged, so much so that I remembered every family vacation that I ever had. So stunningly accurate to my memory was the cinematography. It was such a different experience to watch this movie, and the narration was stunning. So, so very real.
I suppose if the sole purpose of cinema was to imitate life, this movie (or all the iranian cinema, I haven’t watched many or even a few) would get full points. I suppose if the purpose of a story is to re-tell an incident and also capture the entire lives of everyone in the world (the story of creation itself) in such a short space, then this movie manages to do it. A similar kind of thing happens to me when I read Naguib Mahfouz. It feels as if someone has told me ‘the one big’ story in a little story. If that makes any sense.
If I am a fan of Israeli movies now, I think I am in love with Iranian film making now. And for these films I am so grateful for the Bangalore Film Festival, which was a run away success by the way. The halls were filled to capacity with people even opting to sit on the floor.
It has now been decided apparently to make this a fixed event in Bangalore every year. Ah! that makes me so happy!